The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families

The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families

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by Mark Hyman
     
 

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Building on the eye-opening investigation into the damaging effects of the ultra-competitive culture of youth sports in his previous book, Until It Hurts, Mark Hyman's new book looks at the business of youth sports, how it has changed, and how it is affecting young Americans. Examining the youth sports economy from many sides--the major corporations, small

Overview

Building on the eye-opening investigation into the damaging effects of the ultra-competitive culture of youth sports in his previous book, Until It Hurts, Mark Hyman's new book looks at the business of youth sports, how it has changed, and how it is affecting young Americans. Examining the youth sports economy from many sides--the major corporations, small entrepreneurs, coaches, parents, and, of course, kids--Hyman probes the reasons for rapid changes in what gets bought and sold in this lucrative marketplace. Just participating in youth sports can be expensive. Among the costs are league fees, equipment, and perhaps private lessons with a professional coach. With nearly 50 million kids playing organized sports each year, it is easy to see how profitable this market can be. Hyman takes us to tournaments sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, and other big businesses, and he talks to parents who sacrifice their vacations and savings to get their (sometimes reluctant) junior stars to these far-off, expensive venues for a chance to shine. He introduces us to videos purporting to teach six-month-old babies to kick a ball, to professional athletes who will "coach" an eight-year-old for a hefty fee, to a town that has literally staked its future on preteen sports. With its extensive interviews and original reporting, The Most Expensive Game in Town explains the causes and effects of the commercialization of youth sports, changes that the author argues are distorting and diminishing family life. He closes with strong examples of individuals and communities bucking this destructive trend.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
…even as he tallies all of this up with the grim efficiency of an accountant, Hyman—a recovering sports dad himself—adopts a refreshingly nonjudgmental attitude toward the parents who started out pacing the sidelines and ended up walking off the deep end…Hyman's work should give anyone who feels the psychic tug of tryouts and travel teams even more pause about joining the ranks of helicopter sports parents.
—Gordon Marino
Publishers Weekly
Following up his previous book, Until It Hurts, Hyman, a sports journalist for Business Week, further probes the soaring cost of the youth sports economy, targeting the dreams and aspirations of parents obsessed with the hope of transforming their children into professional athletes. The author scores high points in telling the stories of families in Ohio, Kansas, and California, who pushed their budgets near their breaking point to get their kids the best equipment, coaching, and summer camps. While slick-talking advocates of the youth sports business promise great results from the various programs and academies, the cash-strapped parents feel guilt for not taking advantage of every opportunity to guarantee their charges fame and fortune. He wisely poses key queries about media overexposure, financial sponsorship in the inner city vs. suburbs, and government inaction. However, Hyman’s slender volume presents more questions than answers, touching on topics rather than going into them in depth, yet he still puts some significant issues on the front burner. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“Hyman—a recovering sports dad himself—adopts a refreshingly nonjudgmental attitude toward the parents who started out pacing the sidelines and ended up walking off the deep end. . . . With a mix of facts and anecdotes, Hyman pivots to explore the supply side of the equation.”
—Gordon Marino, New York Times Book Review
 
“It is widely noted that youth sports have their problems, from the obsession with results to premature specialization. However, economics are at the heart of these problems, and what often gets left unsaid is clearly outlined in Mark Hyman’s new book The Most Expensive Game in Town.”
—Doug Glanville, Time.com
 
“An eye-opening look at yet another way that profit-driven adults are robbing kids of fun. Mark Hyman’s compelling exploration of the business of youth sports today is an important read for anyone who cares about children—or how the game is played.”
—Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids and The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World
 
“[Hyman] presents the numbers to prove that most folks who feel that clinics for eight year olds and private coaches for children too young to brush their own teeth are more likely to lead to burnout than to brilliant careers.”
—Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio’s “Only a Game.”

 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807001370
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
03/20/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
985,987
File size:
243 KB

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Hyman—a recovering sports dad himself—adopts a refreshingly nonjudgmental attitude toward the parents who started out pacing the sidelines and ended up walking off the deep end. . . . With a mix of facts and anecdotes, Hyman pivots to explore the supply side of the equation.”
—Gordon Marino, New York Times Book Review
 
“It is widely noted that youth sports have their problems, from the obsession with results to premature specialization. However, economics are at the heart of these problems, and what often gets left unsaid is clearly outlined in Mark Hyman’s new book The Most Expensive Game in Town.”
—Doug Glanville, Time.com
 
“An eye-opening look at yet another way that profit-driven adults are robbing kids of fun. Mark Hyman’s compelling exploration of the business of youth sports today is an important read for anyone who cares about children—or how the game is played.”
—Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids and The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World
 
“[Hyman] presents the numbers to prove that most folks who feel that clinics for eight year olds and private coaches for children too young to brush their own teeth are more likely to lead to burnout than to brilliant careers.”
—Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio’s “Only a Game.”

 

Meet the Author

Mark Hyman is a journalist, frequently contributing to publications, such as The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and he was a former writer for BusinessWeek and Sports Business Journal. In 1998, he assisted Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller in the writing of his memoir, Confessions of a Baseball Purist. He has appeared on panels and led workshops for the Sports Lawyers Association, the American Press Institute and the Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2010 he was honored as one of 18 Sports Ethics Fellows by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island and the Positive Coaching Alliance at Stanford University. He currently teaches in the sports management program at George Washington University.

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The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are yall retarded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NEVERMIND! PEOPLE! NOT $7, BUT THIRTEEN DOLLARS INSTEAD!